Press releases (or news emails, if you have an email list) are a great way to get attention for an event, new service or product, or just to draw attention to your services, facility or farm. However, a poorly written press release can actually cause you more harm than good.
Here are some tips on getting your information written in good form and containing what you are trying to say.
1) What are you trying to accomplish? Do you have open stalls you want to fill? Are you hosting a show or event that you want to get more competitors signed up for? Are you introducing a new trainer or discipline to your facility? Are you having a grand opening for your new indoor arena?
This is your news or "hook" to get people to read what you have written. Start your release or email with this fact.
2) Get your information before you write. Create a list of the pertinent facts you want to convey before you start to write. If you are announcing your spring horse show, you need the date, time, location, classes, etc. Make sure to include your contact information (phone and email).
3) Write a succinct first paragraph (lead). Your first paragraph should tell the majority of your facts, or at least enough to get someone to read more if the information applies to him or her. Let's use our horse show above as an example.
Smith Riding Academy will host its annual Spring Fling hunter show on April 18-10, 2020. The show will be held at Smith Riding Academy at 102 Painted Pony Lane in Silver Lake, Florida, and it is open to all ages and riding abilities. With indoor and outdoor arenas available, the show will be held rain or shine starting at 8:00 a.m. each day.
4) The rest of the story. You should follow your lead paragraph with information about classes, stabling, trailer parking, fees, judges, etc. If you don't know some fact, such as the judges you will use, you can just leave that out and use that fact closer to show time as another reason to reach out to your audience with another email.
5. Final paragraph. In your final paragraph, you need to summarize again what the event is, date, etc., plus give your contact information, including phone, email and website/social media page. (Your website should have a page or place dedicated to your show so people know where to visit for updated information, photos, etc.)
6) Include links. If you plan to send out your press release or email with links (either to your website, business email or social media), make sure you include the full link as well as hotlink it in the press release.
7) Proof read. Use your spelling and grammar check on your computer. Then have someone else read over your press release or email to ensure that you have all the information needed and that It makes sense.
8) Disseminate widely. You can send your press release or email out to anyone you have permission to email or mail. You also should submit it to your local newspaper, regional free equine publications, breed/discipline magazines or websites, your state horse council, regional hunter association, etc. You can also print it out and post it in your local tack shops, your own tack room, the local show grounds, etc.
9) Follow up. Don't forget to send updates to those who sign up for your show or might be interested in your show. As you get closer to the date of your event, send out other press releases or emails to announce the event to people who might have missed your first press release, and for those who had not made up their mind to attend your event. Include pertinent information, but try to change up your wording a little bit, especially in your first paragraph.
For example, your lead above might be changed to read:
Looking for a fun hunter show to get ready for spring? Plan on attending the Smith Riding Academy Spring Fling hunter show on April 18-19, 2020. The show is open to all ages and riding abilities. It will be held at Smith Riding Academy at 102 Painted Pony Lane in Silver Lake, Florida. We will have the show RAIN OR SHINE since we have indoor and outdoor arenas available. The first class starts at 8:00 a.m. each day.
10) Not just email. Make sure to take the opportunity to hand out information about your news at local equine meetings, events and shows. You can use the press release or email you designed above, put on your logo, and hand it out in person.
Press releases and news emails don't have to be long, but they need to contain good information. That information must be well-written and contain your complete contact information for those who have questions.